A month ago we went to an adoption party. Everything about it was full of love and life: the pink personalized decorations, the homemade food, the beautiful little girl whose legal inclusion into her family we were celebrating. I loved catching up with a few friends while we were there and watching all our children dance and roll around and break crayons together, and we happily headed back to our car together when it was time to leave.
Once in the passenger seat, I conked out.
I woke up briefly to laugh at myself.
This, I am told, is the key trait of introverts: recharging best away from people, rather than among them. I’m very familiar with what this has meant in my life, but I wanted you to know that these stories for October aren’t meant to represent all introverts, by any means.
These are stories plucked from the life of one person with one particular brand of introversion.
For me, being an introvert doesn’t mean that I always want to be left alone. These days I’m on the verge of asking certain friends if I can bring them a drive-thru latte at 6 a.m. because it’s been so long since we’ve caught up. I’m not soft-spoken all the time, and do shout: inwardly, outwardly, futilely through the glass at a neighbor’s cat for whom good fences merely make good hurdles. And floating in my DNA are professorial genes which allow me be bright-eyed and all-there while speaking to large groups. It’s not all hermit-hole and monastic cloister around here.
I do take to quiet places like a fish to water. The solitary scratch of a real pen on paper, the feel of an open clothbound book, and pairs of overstuffed armchairs with room for tea and good, filling conversation — these endow me with the feeling of arriving home. I love meeting my Father in the hush of the morning mist, or rather the idea of it, since it appears I often love sleep more. And to be more candid about all this inwardness, in the past I’ve overthought words I’ve shared and internalized the feelings of others so much that I’ve been unable to process anxiety and food. I know, too, what it is to plummet endlessly through the darkness of depression, and what’s like to tread carefully on “normal days” on its trapdoor.
But I’m an introvert in the same way that I am an idealist, a storyteller, and a black-thumbed gardener. It’s not a prognosis that dictates what I’ll do and who I am; it’s the place where I begin.
Tim Challies puts it this way: “Introversion is a useful description, but a poor definition.”
Since my principal journey has to do with following Christ, I’m finding that my introversion is a vantage point — a perspective from which I take in life: how it fills us, and how it makes us aware of our emptiness.
Every one of us has a different way of viewing the world, and I believe those perceptions lend us clues on how to be vessels of things that really matter. The observations from my corner, in short, help me understand what I have to bring as an offering to my Lord and to his people.
The rest is just plain living it out.
This post is part of a 31 day series about Loving God as an Introvert.